Employee Engagement – is it the prequel for CSR and Sustainability?

Punch and Judy - employee engagementIs employee engagement becoming a term associated with CSR and sustainability?

In a recent global survey of company executives:

“over 78% view sustainability and social responsibility issues as critical for their future growth”

If it is business critical why have only a few managed to even start or sustain the process? For those that have adopted the concept and driven their programmes they know all too well what needs to be done. Forcing the agenda doesn’t work! It never has nor ever will as what’s needed is the complete engagement of every stakeholder. Surely that is where the real issue lies.

Not surprisingly the survey found that :

  • many organisations have built their strategic approach, yet still struggle to achieve management and employee engagement.
  • successful organisations are those that have spent time to engage the hearts and minds of all their people, and demonstrate positive beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to drive business results.
  • many executives state the problems start with the difficulty of achieving a sustainable ‘mind shift’ at executive and operational levels within the organisation.

Engaging employees and in fact engaging any stakeholder in something that’s new and perhaps alien and outside of their grasp has always been a difficult task. And yet the rewards are known to be immense for a business with an engaged worker be they on the shop floor or in the boardroom.

Engaged employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.

But when it comes to employee engagement, we are now dealing with the complicated part – that of people. People are different and complex and if we are improving engagement we need to change individual’s attitudes and behaviours – and we all now how painful change can be. Sometimes it’s so painful, that some companies don’t even try it.

At Mind Fit we know that all three – attitudes, behaviours and outcomes – are part of the engagement story. There is a virtuous circle when the pre-conditions of engagement are met when these three aspects of engagement trigger and reinforce one another.

Engaged organisations have strong and authentic values, with clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two way promises and commitments ( between employers and employees) are clearly understood, and fulfilled.

Is employee engagement new? Well not really, but in today’s fast-paced and changing environment, for many it seems to be difficult to achieve. For instance, talent management strategies that are designed to increase engagement, end up doing the opposite by further disengaging the already disengaged. Our article on “The War on Talent” explains that in greater detail.

So if companies believe that social responsibility and sustainability issues are business critical they need to start with fixing the cause.

An engaged employee experiences a blend of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, job involvement and feelings of empowerment. People don’t go to work to fail, so by helping them be successful, and be at their best they can be is surely a great foundation – and not just for the sustainability and social responsibility agenda.

Employee engagement reminds me of the effect of  teamwork – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Employee engagement – is it the prequel to your social responsibility and sustainability agenda?

Download more here as we believe it is.  

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